Law Blog

The High Cost of Unpaid Internships for Your Startup

The High Cost of Unpaid Internships for Your Startup

Contracts, Copyright, Employment Agreements, Start-Up
Recently, one of our solo founder clients approached me to draw up some short agreement for some (student) unpaid interns he was considering bringing on with his startup. In this post, I touch on some of the things I explained to him after (very professionally, of course) telling him he might want to re-consider his company's plan. If you're a startup founder considering "hiring" unpaid interns to come and work at your new company, it is important that you understand the potential legal and business risks first. Is your startup's unpaid internship even legal? Yes, many business owners never even bother to consider this first, critical question regarding their new or established internship program. The answer is a very legal "probably, but it depends". While not necessarily illegal in and…
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Don’t Leave Home Without It:  6 Must-Haves for Your Startup’s Offshore Development Agreement

Don’t Leave Home Without It: 6 Must-Haves for Your Startup’s Offshore Development Agreement

Contracts, Software
Many of our startup company clients look overseas for their software development needs. Hiring overseas programmers and engineering teams can allow your lean startup to reap tremendous benefits and get your site or app to market and in front of paying customers that much quicker. As with anything done in a foreign land, however, it is not without its risks. In order to remove or at least reduce these concerns, here we take a look at some essential provisions that your startup's offshore development agreement should have. No Substitute for Due Diligence No, this is not a contract provision per se but one of the most important things you and your fellow co-founders can do when seeking to hire that foreign developer has nothing to do with contract drafting. Instead,…
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5 Ways to Protect Your TV Show (or Film Script) Idea

5 Ways to Protect Your TV Show (or Film Script) Idea

Copyright, Copyright Infringement, Entertainment
Lately, I’ve been fielding questions from aspiring script- and screenwriters (most recently from an old high school classmate and, before that, a colleague of mine who is apparently more creative than most of us!) who have asked me, “How can I protect my new TV show or movie idea?” In this post, I’ll go over what I usually tell these creative types in advance of their “pitch” to a producer, studio, or some other (actual or perceived) Hollywood insider they’ve managed to get in front of. Can Ideas Be Protected? Before we dive in, you need to understand one thing-- ideas (in and of themselves) cannot be protected. In fairness, it’s not just the script- or screenwriter hopefuls that sometimes hold this mistaken belief. I hear it at least a…
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Investor Wants “Due Diligence” Fees Paid…Up Front?

Investor Wants “Due Diligence” Fees Paid…Up Front?

Start-Up, Venture Capital
Several months ago, a new-ish startup founder (we'll just call him "Chuck") came to my law firm seeking help in reviewing and possibly negotiating the terms of a seed round with their first, outside investor. Chuck was genuinely excited because this investor had proposed (let's just say a number between) $1-2 million for (let's further say) 20% of Chuck's company. A critical infusion of capital that could get the company through a few of the next developmental milestones. However, during our first call, Chuck said something that made my lawyer antennae stand on end. While we were talking about timeframes, he said something along the lines of "yeah, [Mr. Investor] is just waiting for us to sign off on the agreement and to send in our check for due diligence."…
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TCPA Penalties Enhanced under New “DO NOT CALL” Act

TCPA Penalties Enhanced under New “DO NOT CALL” Act

Telephone Consumer Protection Act
Earlier this Summer, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced a bill to enhance penalties for illegal robocalls under Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Dubbed the “Deter Obnoxious, Nefarious and Outrageous Telephone (DO NOT) Call Act”, Senate Bill 1913 was cosponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Margaret Wood Hassan (D-NH), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The legislation would impose strict new penalties for violations of the TCPA, namely it would amend the Act to impose prison terms of up to one year for those who “willfully and knowingly” violate the robocalling provisions of the TCPA and an enhanced penalty of up to three years in prison for “aggravated” violations, specifically where: the individual has previously been convicted under the Act;the violation involves initiating more than: 100,000…
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